Reports that the president was disrespectful in the phone call set off a controversy about the treatment of Gold Star families last week.
Myeshia Johnson appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday morning to give her side of the story. The appearance is the first time that Mrs. Johnson has publicly spoken about the controversy although Sgt. Johnson’s mother had previously corroborated claims by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fl.) that Trump’s comments during the call had upset the family.
Mrs. Johnson spoke with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in a recorded interview. Johnson said that the president called as they were arriving at Dover AFB to meet Sgt. Johnson’s body. She asked that the phone speaker be turned on so that other relatives could hear.
“The President said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway. And it made me cry ‘cause I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband’s name is because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said ‘La David.’ I heard him stumblin’ on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country why can’t you remember his name. And that’s what made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier.”
Johnson said that after the call she was “very, very upset and hurt” and that “it made me cry even worse.” She added that Rep. Wilson was a longtime family friend and that her claims about the content of the phone call were “100 percent correct.”
Mrs. Johnson also said that she has questions about the circumstances of her husband’s death in Niger. “I want to know why it took them 48-hours to find my husband,” she said, adding that she was never allowed to view her husband’s body.
“They just told me that, um, it was a massive gunfire and my husband as of October 4th was missing, they didn’t his whereabouts,” Johnson said. “They didn’t know where he was or where to find him and a couple days later is when they told me that he went from missing to killed in action. I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything.”
Myeshia Johnson said that she intends to keep pushing for answers about her husband’s death and that she “want[s] the world to know how great of a soldier my husband was and [what] a loving and caring father and husband he was to our family.”
“He died as a hero,” she said.